Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mad Mannequins From Hell

Author: August V. Fahren
Description: "Days from Christmas in Portland, Oregon: It's white, it's wet, and it's weird. From its Rampaging Santa rumbles to its voodoo and vintage clothing, it is a liberal center for beards, fixed-gear bikes, and microbrews. Now, a dark ritual gone wrong threatens to turn this tranquil wonderland into a living hell when the mad mannequins roam free. And caught in the nightmare are four holy figures bound by longing, loss, and blood...
Burton Vilmos, an unemployed special effects makeup artist, is called upon to right a great wrong before he loses his best friend, his new wife, and his seven-year-old son, Max. Aided only by the Trinity Sisters, three machete wielding battle nuns, Burton may just have a prayer. That is if he can manage to survive an encounter with a midget in a Mexican wrestler's mask, the haute couture hell hound, kung fu (baby) Christ, and unholy demon spawn of the evil retail underworld--the mannequins."
"Oh God, Brides!"
These are the last words you will ever speak as the horde of demonic mannequins lets loose its fury upon the world. It's too bad Burton read from that one little book. Don't read from that book. Drink the cool-aid instead.
As in, *this* cool-aid, this book, this wonderful, crazy, wonky, fast-paced roller-coaster of a novel, with four-hundred sizzling chapters. Well, not four-hundred. Actually not even a hundred... or forty.
When I received this book, I started reading, and was unable to stop. Though I may be 3% through Swann's Way, even that riveting tale could not keep me from leaving this story. But this isn't Proust. But, heck, I thought I'd throw that snobby little comment in there—the mannequins aren't a threat anymore, are they?
Where the honk was I?
OK, so first of all, the style for this is definitely it's top quality. This is bizarro, and as such there is a very small audience. Which, as one reviewer said, is a shame. If people unplugged their pathetic preconceived notions about popular fiction, formulaic fantasy, sparkly vampires, and paint-by-numbers romance, they would realize what a colorful world we live in. Or at least a colorful world that lives only inside the heads of bizarro authors. And Fahren's world is a beauty. Come on in.
I'm used to this genre, but still the whole nun thing caught me a little off guard. Once we were in it, however, it was perfect—Fahren did a good job of setting the reader up, or lulling them into a sense of security. Then again, shame on me for not expecting the unexpected. I almost wonder if there should be another story with just the nuns as the main characters...?
It's not always perfect, but then again it probably isn't supposed to be. Some scenes and dialogue are a little forced, or sound a little like bad action movies. Part of it is intentional, I understand. At times, though, it is a little clunky and could use some tweaking. There aren't many of these parts.
This felt like a mix of Big Trouble in Little China (whose main character is also Burton), Evil Dead, and Dead Alive. Just replace the zombies with mannequins and you pretty much have it. I applaud Fahren for creating a unique monster—but at the same time, I had this knowing that the mannequins were stand-ins for zombies or vampires, especially with the religious/spiritual component. For someone sick to death of zombies this was both a  welcome change and a little of the "same old, same old." Matter of taste, I guess.
3.7 stars (rounded up to 4 on Amazon).
Additional Info: Found a couple of typos and very minor editing things—sent to author to fix up. Nothing that takes away from the main story.

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